By all accounts, last year’s inaugural La Izquierda Surf and Music Festival was a raging success.

The first iteration of the festival raised more than $6,000 for the Galveston chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and spread stoke and good vibes to the crowds that filled the 91st Street fishing pier here on the island.

The second La Izquierda is set for May 11 at Jimmy’s on the Pier, 9001 Seawall Boulevard, and will feature a classic surf contest, live music, beer from local craft breweries, and a variety of artist and food vendors, according to Robert Kuhn, a long-time surfer and a well-known island musician.

All proceeds from the event, which begins with registration, yoga and a free surf at 8 a.m, will once again benefit the local Surfrider chapter. There’s also a sunset paddle-out planned to honor a local surfer who recently passed away. The festivities will continue up until midnight, with live music acts scheduled throughout the day.

“We all care about our beaches, oceans and coastlines and internationally, regionally and locally the Surfrider Foundation works hard to protect them,” said Kuhn. “It’s quite a battle and they can use the support.”

From a surfing standpoint, this year’s competition features several different divisions, including men’s longboard, women’s longboard, groms (12 and under), an expression session, legends (50 and over), standup paddleboarding and open longboard.

Due to the expected crowd size, the festival represents one of the rare opportunities when the pier is closed to fishing. That means surfers competing at the event and taking part in the free-surf events won’t have to dodge fishing lines. That alone makes it well worth the cost of admission.

Another bonus: surfers who register for the competition receive a T-shirt, a beer-tasting glass and a dozen tickets to the beer-tasting event.

“Surfers and the community at large in Galveston County should get behind this event because it is so much fun,” Kuhn said. “The beautiful art of surfing coupled with curated original live music is a spectacular magnetic vibe to witness and be a part of, especially in the fresh air and right above the ocean.”

WSL SCORES FIRING BELLS BEACH

By the time you’re reading this, you may have missed some, if not all, of the latest stop on the World Surf League’s championship tour, the Rip Curl Pro competition at Bells Beach in Australia.

If you didn’t catch the event live this week, do yourself a favor and watch the world’s best surfers battling it out in epic surf. It was absolutely richter-scale massive for the later rounds of the men’s and women’s competitions, a swell that was drawing comparisons to the classic 1981 event that took place in huge surf. You can watch the heat replays at www.worldsurfleague.com.

Stephen Hadley is a longtime surfer who lives and works in Galveston. If you have an idea for this column, email him at stephendhadley@gmail.com.

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